by Jenna Yarosh
Does your dog chew at his tail or feet? Have a dry, dull coat (or even bald patches), and always seem to be itchy? Are you constantly at the vet for ear infections or digestive issues? Dog food allergies may be to blame!
Dogs are not born with allergies to specific food ingredients. Dog food allergies are developed over time by feeding the same ingredients repeatedly. If a dog is given chicken every day, for example, over time his body may become less equipped to break down those proteins. The body begins to mistakenly identify chicken as a harmful ingredient, and creates defensive antibodies. This is what causes the symptoms many of us have seen in our pets.
The best way to stop these dog food allergies is through a rotational diet, much like our own. Each day, we eat different foods than the day before. This helps us get a variety of nutrients, and prevents boredom from eating the same thing over and over. Dogs, too, benefit from a varied diet, and switching foods can help save a lot of money on veterinary care over the dog’s life.A diet with a wide variety of proteins makes for a happy and HEALTHY dog! Click To Tweet
Many pet parents are afraid to switch their dog’s food for fear it will cause diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues. They think that sticking to one good food will keep their pet healthy and happy for life. This is what many food companies want you to think as well. The reality, however, is that the minor G.I. issues that may result from switching foods are nothing compared to the major issues that may happen if the dog becomes intolerant to his old diet.
Progressive vets recommend that your dog’s food be switched a few times per year. If you have a sensitive dog, you may need a few weeks to gradually transition your pup onto the new food. If you feed a rotational diet, such as Taste of the Wild or Acana, you can stick to the same brand for a longer time, but you should switch up the protein. This will help prevent allergies, and keep mealtime exciting for your dog.
If your dog has an allergy to chicken, and you find a salmon-based food she does well on, your instinct may to be stick to this food. In reality, though, you should already be planning the next protein to switch to. Lamb used to be the go-to hypoallergenic food. But after a long time eating lamb, a dog is just as likely to develop an allergy to it as to chicken or beef.
So remember: a diet with a wide variety of proteins makes for a happy and HEALTHY dog!
Jenna Yarosh owns the Patton Avenue Pet Company. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from the University of Vermont, and a Graduate Certificate from the Humane Society University in Animal Policy and Advocacy.